Judge Tosses Michael Cohen Suit Accusing Trump Of Retaliation Over Tell-All Memoir

by | Nov 15, 2022 | Politics

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen that accused the former president, federal prison officials and former Attorney General William Barr of unlawfully punishing him for writing a critical, tell-all book about Trump while incarcerated.U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman on Monday ruled that the decision to move Cohen from home confinement to solitary confinement in 2020 ― after he was accused of rejecting conditions to stay off social media and not publish his book ― did not undermine Cohen’s First Amendment right to free speech. It also did not amount to an illegal seizure, false arrest or cruel and unusual punishment, as Cohen alleged.AdvertisementCohen was sentenced in late 2018 for campaign finance violations, lying to Congress and other offenses but was released early to home confinement in May 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the home confinement agreement, he was told he could not publish his book, engage with news organizations or post on social media. Michael Cohen, seen in 2018, accused former President Donald Trump, federal prison officials and former Attorney General William Barr of retaliating against him for writing a memoir critical of Trump.via Associated PressCohen’s attorney requested that this requirement be reconsidered, however, with Cohen believing that it was a violation of his First Amendment rights. During this consideration, his suit claims he was rearrested under the false claim that he had refused to agree to the conditions.Once back in custody, Cohen said he was moved into a “special segregated housing unit” and placed in solitary confinement for 16 days where he was subjected to “poor ventilation, no air conditioning, and temperatures frequently over one hundred degrees,” leading to health problems.AdvertisementU.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein agreed shortly after Cohen’s transfer that his imprisonment was “retaliatory in response to Cohen desiring to exercise his First Amendment rights to publish a book critical of the president — and to discuss the book on social media.”Hellerstein, who was appointed to the court by former President Bill Clinton, ordered Cohen to return to home confinement less than three weeks later.Liman, who was appointed by Trump in 2019, cited the terms of Cohen’s home confinement agreement and said that Cohen’s allegations of mistreatment while in custody are “ambiguous” and “not clear” in terms of who’s actually to blame. “It is not clear whether Cohen claims that the alleged ‘negligence’ resulted from the policies and procedures governing [the federal correctional institution] … or from the carelessness of an individual guard in failing to check that the cell was well-ventilated, air conditioned, and a safe temperature,” Liman said.Cohen’s attorney, Andrew Laufer, told Reuters that they may appeal Liman’s ruling, citing the “grave and extensive abuse of power that our client suffered by the prior administration.”AdvertisementTrump attorney Alina Habba told Reuters that Cohen’s lawsuit was frivolous and legally deficient and that he will continue fighting against “innumerable falsehoods being perpetrated by his enemies.” …

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